Lenzi, in his debut book of poetry, explores his own life and the world around him.
This collection of more than 100 poems covers a lot of ground, including the poet’s own life and politics, current events, and meditations on the real and imagined lives of famous figures. The poems alternate between long, proselike pieces and groups of short, focused haiku. All are marked by their attention to the sound and rhythm of language, particularly in Lenzi’s pieces about music, such as “Bluenotes,” about a jazz performance in a bar: “Keys bounce the blue barlight / Off lean nimble fingers.” In his longer poems, Lenzi builds sentences quickly, often ending one without punctuation and beginning a new one in the next line: “I asked but rare favor / I desired no fame / but I upheld the honor / of my father’s good name.” He also includes poems on family history (“[T]hese bare-chested coal-blackened hardies / included my proud Polish granddad-in-law”), with a particularly lovely one about his long marriage: “Along country lanes / pass vignettes of our life, / more chock-a-block memoirs / than we can scoop up / with our happy / but bewildered senses.” He also writes about famous people, such as Margaret Thatcher and Frank Lloyd Wright, and even fictional characters, such as Sherlock Holmes. He includes poems on real events such as the Boston Marathon bombings, the 9/11 attacks and George Zimmerman’s trial for shooting Trayvon Martin, and all lament the losses of life. Politics also feature prominently (“[A]llowing our choice for election of scoundrels / who would foist rule-of-men and displace rule-of-law”; “Our bibles, guns, and SUVs, / And wealth such / as our hands create, / All emblematic liberties / That tyranny might confiscate”). Here, titles such as “Obamaland” and “Libertarian Lament” drive home the poet’s personal politics.
A collection of poems marked by strong political opinions and the skillful use of language.